Have Gun - Will Travel

Season 2 Episode 28

Maggie O'Bannion

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Apr 04, 1959 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • I'm getting the impression that you could toss Paladin into any situation whatsoever, and he will always know exactly how to handle it.

    Paladin is, once again, either traveling to a job or back home again. The opening is exciting, but confusing. Paladin finds his way blocked by a "Stay Out!" sign leading to the O'Bannion ranch, although theoretically travelers should have free passage over open range. Before he has a chance to contemplate his next move, someone takes a potshot at him. Another man might high-tail it out of there, but Paladin, of course, instantly gives chase. Another two men further on, have prepared a rope barrier to snap up after their man has safely passed by. The rope trick proves as effective on horsemen as it will on motorcyclists of a later era. Paladin is knocked off, down, and out. It was obviously a carefully prepared ambush, but one of the men makes a comment that sounds as though this is merely a punishment that they mete out to travelers foolish enough to ignore the warning sign. One man takes Paladin's fancily holstered gun for his collection. Another is impressed by Paladin's trail clothes, which are clean to boot (although probably a little dusty after that fall.)

    Poor Paladin. Although necessity forces him to lay aside his normal fastidiousness while on the trail (just as he switches from eating gourmet food on fine china to scooping beans out of a can with a knife), it must have been extremely unpleasant to put on his bushwacker's discarded, filthy, and stinking clothing. Yet he does so, and marches to the O'Bannion ranch with all his usual aplomb.

    The foreman is away, and the remaining hands are disinclined to do any of the necessary chores--although they are quite happy to jump up and harass the smelly stranger who comes walking up. After dealing with them with his usual dispatch, Paladin dashes inside the house to confront the owner. Miss Margaret O'Bannion is a young woman whose well-meaning parents sought to shelter her from the harshness of ranch life, instead rearing her to be a dainty lady who never lifted her hand to any work. This scheme backfired when her parents died before getting her married off. Miss O'Bannion is forced to rely solely on her foreman Cyrus to run things. Paladin had already noted during his trek in that he didn't seem to be running things very well--there's hardly any cattle on the extensive and fertile lands. Paladin also takes note of his own gun, hanging in a cluster with others, and realzes just what is going on. Cyrus, however, will be gone for a week, so Paladin will need to stay. His soft-spoken courtesy overrides his unpleasant appearance, and he's taken on as an assistant to Cookie--although not before getting a bath and clean clothes, which must have been a considerable relief to Paladin (not to mention the two women).

    Cookie is immediately impressed with Paladin's culinary skills, as well as his flirtatious style. Paladin has a strong tendency to try and help people whether they want it or not (or even know that help is needed). He's concerned with Miss Margaret O'Bannion, locked inside her house with tea and sonnets for company while life passes her by. Miss O'Bannion, who is much less sophisticated than she thinks, is disconcerted by this attractive, knowing stranger who knows just what to say (and what not to say). Frustrated, she decides to dismiss him, but comes upon him surrounded by her other hands, who are prepared to teach him a lesson. At first, she is obviously pleased at the prospect of this maddening stranger getting his comeuppance, but she can't help being impressed when Paladin not only defends himself, but gets the lazy hands to actually do some work. She offers him the job of supervising the hands--and is infuriated when he takes her up on it and promptly takes off to carry out his duties. He takes the opportunity to confirm what he has suspected--Miss O'Bannion's foreman is defrauding her right and left.

    Miss O'Bannion decides to get back at her irritating handyman by teasing him. Paladin anticipates her, however, and takes himself off before she can parade herself in front of him in negligee. Cookie, who, like Paladin, understands just what is going on with her young employer, slyly suggests that as Paladin has gone into town, Miss O'Bannion might care to take a horseback ride. Meeting Paladin out on the range, Miss O'Bannion tries to play a coy game, but Paladin prefers a more direct approach. He also tries to wake her up to what's going on with her ranch, but Maggie has just woken up to other possibilities, and wants to concentrate on those instead. Paladin obliges.

    They come back to the ranch to find that Cyrus has returned early. Cyrus has learned that Paladin has been nosing around the ranch records. His plan had been to force Miss O'Bannion to hand her ranch over to him and leave, but seeing Maggie, dressed in her riding habit, flushed with fresh air and exercise (hmmm....) he considers making other arrangements. Paladin alters Cyrus' plans.

    The ending is rather abrupt. Maggie, before getting distracted, had told Paladin that she knew nothing about running a ranch, and it was too late to learn. We then see her riding briskly in, casting an expert eye on a bull that presumably has just been found on the range or purchased, and ordering him to be cleansed of parasites and a sore patch treated. When her ranch hand protests, she sharply suggests that he follow orders or quit. It sounds as if some time has passed, giving her time to start learning her way around, but then we learn that no more than a day or two could have gone by. It's still less than a week since Paladin got there. I'm sure that he took the time to get his trail clothes properly laundered, but it doesn't seem like time enough to start teaching Maggie about ranch doings. Unless, of course, after that passionate kiss, Paladin set about giving her a crash course in ranching...yeah, right.

    Both Maggie and Cookie are going to miss Paladin, if for different reasons...although I would like to know what Paladin told Cookie that made her laugh so hard as they were coming out of the house.
  • Paladin finds himself without gun, horse and proper clothing near the O'Bannion ranch. When he arrives at the ranch, his appearance is that of a hobo. From this beginning, he saves the damsel, gets his clothing and back and kicks some badguy booty.

    Another favorite that dislays Richard Boone's versatility and willingness to be the object of humor. Only a man of supreme self confidence could appear in public in the clothing he wore after encountering the badguys at the beginning of this story.

    This episode makes it clear that our hero is an excellent cook, has a good mind for accounting, understands cattle ranching and is a consummate psychologist. It is also the first time women in the audience are given good reason to believe he might be a good lover. Prior to the love scene in this episode, Paladin's encounters with women often seem to be parodies in which the actresses' lines are goofy and their movements are stilted. When Paladin rides away in this episode, you agree with the lady that she will never find another so fine. In other episodes you want to tell the girl to get over it and find a real man who will love and stay with her.